Sadtu’s trail of sex and bribery

2014-08-10 15:01

Never mind reading, writing and arithmetic – members of the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in North West are allegedly more likely to be involved in bribery, intimidation and exchanging sex for jobs.

This is according to a forensic report commissioned by the North West department of education into the union’s affairs in the province.

The report – which City Press has obtained a copy of – was compiled by Nexus Forensic Services in 2011, and implicates both Sadtu and the department’s own officials.

The department said it was on the verge of prosecuting some of the individuals implicated, but stopped because witnesses allegedly told officials the report was riddled with inaccuracies.

Department spokesperson Brian Setswambung said: “Furthermore, the legal opinion solicited by the department also pointed to the existence of factual inaccuracies, which led to the department not proceeding with the disciplinary process.”

But several sources in the department said it was merely trying to sweep the whole matter “under the carpet”.

One source told City Press that in 2012, the then head of department removed the power to appoint principals from the district offices to the head office because of the explosive claims contained in the report.

Last month, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced the members of a task team that will investigate the alleged sale of positions in all provinces. This came after City Press in April exposed a jobs-for-cash scam allegedly spearheaded by Sadtu officials.

Among the incidents contained in the report are:

»The alleged sale, in July 2010, of a head of department position to a female teacher by a Sadtu regional secretary in the Bojanala district. The post was allegedly bought for R3?000. The Sadtu man allegedly told the teacher the money was for a senior official in the department, but the position was not forthcoming.

»A brawl between a high school teacher and a circuit manager after the manager allegedly promised the teacher’s wife a job in exchange for sex.

The report reads: “During official working hours, the circuit manager took the educator’s wife to Swaziland for two days where they had a holiday. It is not known if the department paid for this trip. The teacher has now instituted a civil claim against the circuit manager. No further detail is available on whether the sex happened and if the woman got the job she was promised.”

»The appointment, allegedly through interference by a powerful Sadtu member in North West, of an unqualified and computer illiterate administrative assistant at a middle school.

“He was appointed to a position that required computer skills without fulfilling this requirement. The school is currently experiencing problems as he cannot properly utilise a computer,” the report reads.

The forensic investigators accused the Sadtu official of “going to great lengths” to ensure the candidate was short-listed and employed.

»A district director was accused of putting a junior teacher into the position of deputy chief education specialist – a three-level jump.

The requirements for the position included management experience and seven years of teaching experience, according to the investigators.

The candidate, who was a high-ranking Sadtu official in the province, didn’t have management experience and although he claimed he had seven years of experience as an English and history teacher, this wasn’t proved.

Members of the interviewing panel raised questions about the candidate’s lack of experience, but the director allegedly said candidates should be evaluated on marks they score during interviews and not on their experience and knowledge.

»In several cases, the investigators found that minutes of meetings were allegedly changed to reflect that a specific candidate had been recommended for an appointment when this wasn’t the case.

The auditors had harsh words for Sadtu officials in the province, saying they often “actively pursued the inclusion of their members on short lists”, adding: “They were also outspoken, aggressive and intimidating during the short-listing process. They were also illegally involved in the sifting process of applicants during the short-listing phase [in several cases].

“The evidence collected indicates that the unions do not keep to the role of observation assigned to them in terms of the department circulars but interfere in the process to the extent of intimidating the short-listing and interview panels,” it said in the report.

Sadtu’s outgoing provincial secretary, Thabo Sematle, said: “I don’t have the report, so we don’t know the extent to which we are implicated. We will respond once we have seen the report.”

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